I initially had intended to write this post for Thanksgiving. The day of giving thanks for all that we have. Thanksgiving was a bit busier than I anticipated, and I thought about just skipping it, but I realized that of course, we can be grateful every day.
Gratitude can help put us in a positive mindset and combats negative thought processes. This can provide myriad health benefits on physical, emotional and social levels. A Harvard mental health letter says “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Sounds like some good reasons to practice gratitude to me. (Source article HERE)
I know that gratitude journals were a “thing” at one time (are they still?), where each day you are supposed to write five things you are grateful for. I admit, I tried and failed multiple times at making this a regular practice. I would always end up with the same five things and it ended up feeling defeating rather than uplifting. I have heard some interesting variations on this theme that you might like to try.
One idea I like is to make a running gratitude list. Each day, add a new item to the list. The only rule is that you can’t repeat. This might be a good one to post on the wall somewhere that you can see it frequently. You could be creative and turn it into a work of art, too, with different colors and pictures. Have fun with it!
Another idea I really like is something we do on a Facebook group I’m on. At the end of each day, we all share what the best part of our day was. Usually I find myself looking back over my day and having trouble deciding which of the great things – big or small – was the best. Of course, we all have those days when the our answer is “the best thing about today is that it’s over” – but even on the worst days, I can usually find at least one small thing. It really does improve my mindset, and puts good thoughts in my head before I lay down to sleep. If you don’t do this with a group, you could do it in a journal, or what I was thinking of doing next year is to start writing these things on pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Then at the end of the year, you can read them all and remember the best parts of your year.
Do you have other gratitude practices you like to do? Please share in the comments!